There are a few things that you know you’re going to see when you go to a Disney Park. There will be drunk adults arguing in line for It’s a Small World, screaming children on leashes, and princesses who look like they want to die taking a picture with someone’s dad. Now, for the first time in the parks’ 66-year history, you can add Black Santa Claus to that list. According to CNN, “At both Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, California, and Walt Disney World Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Florida, a Black Santa has been spotted at certain meet-and-greets and at after-hours Christmas parties.”
That’s right, in 2021, Disney parks have finally decided that a fictional man whose main purpose is to get kids to behave for one month a year could maybe look like anything. Interestingly, the company did not make a big deal about diversifying its Santa roster, perhaps because it’s really embarrassing that they never had a Black Santa until now, or, worse, because doing so even now might read as woke-mob campus politics to certain people in their base.
If they had gone the fanfare route, I would imagine that there would have been some inspiring piece of video content that would go something like this: We open on scenes of the Disney parks decorated for the holidays, Jamie Foxx would be narrating. “The holidays are a special time… for everyone,” he’d say as we saw an interracial family smiling and wearing Mickey ears. “This year, Disney parks knows that anyone’s belly can shake like a bowl full of jelly.” That’s when the interracial couple’s suitably tan and curly-haired child’s eyes would widen, and she’d point. Cut to a Black Santa riding in his sleigh during the holiday parade. The music swells. The kid would sprint to Santa, bypassing a bunch of white kids, and jump directly onto Black Santa’s lap. Then she’d whisper something into Black Santa’s ear, and he’d do a hearty chuckle and give her a nod. Then she’d hop off his lap and run back to her parents, whose eyes are filled with tears. “So come to Disney parks this holiday season,” Foxx would say, “Whether you’re Happy, Bashful, Sneezy, or Dopey, everyone is welcome”
Of course, this is not what Disney did, because again, it is wholly embarrassing that the megacorporation has only had white Santas until now. Or, alternatively, because they don’t want to alienate visitors especially prone to spontaneously yelling the words “critical race theory.” Who’s to say. Either way, they decided to just slip in a couple Black Santas and then quietly confirm it to CNN. You have to remember that this is the same company that waited until 2020’s Black Lives Matter protests to decide that maybe Splash Mountain shouldn’t be themed after a movie so racist that it’s been hidden away in the Disney Vault for decades.
Hopefully this groundbreaking move from the company is only the beginning. Now they can move on to doing something truly radical, like making a princess who has ADHD or something.